We all have those days where you are really lacking motivation at work… It doesn’t happen as often to me anymore but I do have the odd day where I just can’t be asked. Here are some tips I have tried and tested to help your motivation.
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Why is motivation at work important?
Being motivated at work means you are likely to be more productive and successful in your job. It is an amazing resource when recruiting new employees. If the longer term employees are motivated and produce good work, it will attract new ones because they can see the workplace is a healthy one. The attendance record of your employees will be high as motivated people are more likely to want to be at work rather than taking days off. The general productivity of the business grows when everyone who works there is motivated and ready to work everyday.
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How to increase motivation at work?
This is quite straight forward. When you have something to work towards, you are more motivated to do the work. Having an abstract, ‘do your best’, ambition to your work, just won’t get you anywhere. By having a clear, concise goal, it makes it clear where you need to get to and then you can work on how to get there.
For example, you are told you need to walk more. This is such a broad concept that you just think, ‘Yeah I need to walk more’. Break it down into more realistic and specific goals, e.g. walk 10,000 steps a day. This is clear and concise and can be measured. By doing this you can map out how you are going to get those 10,000 steps in.
Your goals should trigger intrinsic motivation instead of extrinsic. An activity intrinsically motivated is seen as it’s own end. An activity that is extrinsically motivated is an activity to receive a reward or avoid punishment. Studies have shown that intrinsic motives produce more success and achievement that extrinsic ones.
Intrinsic vs Extrinsic motivation
Intrinsic motivation means the activity itself is motivation enough without any external factors to entice you to do the work. Examples of intrinsic motivation can be doing an activity because you love it or gives you a sense of achievement. This is a very healthy motivation technique and can be used over and over again without any negative implications.
Daniel Pink (2011), an American motivational writer, argues that extrinsic motivation techniques are like drugs. The more we get, the more we want. It can also sometimes show an employee the activity they are having to do is undesirable and therefore needs a reward for the work to be done. If you ask me, that is a red flag for my motivation because a job that is undesirable is something I am less likely to be motivated to do, even if there is a reward involved.
Pink states that greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible. He has come up with 7 deadly results for extrinsic motivation techniques.
- Diminishes intrinsic motivation
- Decreases performance
- Encourages cheating
- Decreases creativity
- Crowds out good behaviour
- Becomes addictive
- Fosters short term thinking
Celebrate small wins
Every small win is worth celebrating because it all connects to the company’s overall success. Celebrating doesn’t always have to involve an external reward. Saying to yourself, “Well done on a great job done”, into the mirror in the bathroom can be just as rewarding and helps build your confidence all at the same time. Also, don’t forget to be specific on your wins. Generalising your affirmations to yourself can diminish their effects.
Stay fuelled up
Hunger can be a real de-motivator. If you’re anything like me, hunger completely consumes your brain. I cannot focus on anything else when I’m hungry. Be sure to have healthy snacks, yes I meant healthy, by your desk/workspace that you can turn to when the hunger pangs hit. Chocolate, sweets and crisps, delicious as they are, are some of the worst things to have because they just spike your sugar levels and when the drop hits, and it will, you feel like hell. This is something I am super guilty of because we have snacks provided in the office and they are all so delicious. Don’t fall for it!!! Also make sure you have protein in you lunch as that is a slow releaser of energy and will help keep you going when that dreaded after lunch dip comes around.
Take short breaks away from the work
By taking a short break from the computer screen or customer facing spot, whatever it is you do, you are giving your brain a break, not to mention your eyes. Long periods of time in front of a screen can affect your eye sight, back and hips. So just pop into the kitchen for a cuppa and a chat with a colleague, or a few minutes outside to catch some fresh air and sun rays. Just getting away from you workspace allows your body to almost reboot. We were not designed to concentrate and focus for 8 solid hours a day. It just isn’t possible, so give yourself a few minutes every few hours to reboot before settling down again into your work. This will improve your productivity if you believe it.
Practice 5 minutes of mindfulness
You cannot believe the impact of mindfulness. By centering your mind and bringing your attention to the breath and the moment, it helps to prevent your mind becoming too full and overwhelmed. This is an amazing technique that will also improve your focus and concentration. Take 5 minutes away from your post and carry out a full body scan to bring everything back to the breath. You will see such a difference in your work performance in a short amount of time. I cannot advocate for mindfulness enough. If you need to use a guided meditation method, the Calm app is absolutely amazing. It has meditations for all aspects of life.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about motivation at work, why it is important and how to increase it. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments and if you have any other suggestions, please please share. I’d love to hear them.
Until next time…